Summer Is the Time for Watermelon

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Do you remember having a watermelon seed-spitting contest as a child? We were actually allowed to spit something! What a silly and funny activity for the 4th of July or a picnic. The heat of the summer is the perfect time to indulge in sweet, juicy, nutrient rich watermelon. Watermelon is luscious and refreshing as a snack or as part of a fruit salad, dessert, or drink. One cup of watermelon has only 48 calories, however it has high levels of nutrients, making it the perfect healthy treat. Watermelons are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamins B 6 and B 1, potassium, and magnesium. In addition, medical studies have shown that watermelon can help with inflammation conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. It is also high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has cancer preventing properties and helps oxidize cholesterol.

Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa and have been used as a source of water for centuries. The flesh is 90 percent clean, pure water, which made it a safe water source in desert areas. There are over 500 varieties of watermelon throughout the world, including in India and Egypt, where they have been cultivated since 2500 B. C. They range in weight from 5 pounds to around 50 pounds, with the largest in recorded history being a 279-pound melon from North Carolina! When picking out a watermelon, make sure the surface is smooth and symmetrical, with a round or oblong shape. There should be a flat and slightly yellow place on one side where it was sitting on the ground.  Take your thumb and thump the melon while listening for a rich thudding sound to ensure proper ripeness. They should be allowed to ripen on the vine; so buying your melon locally ensures it will be fresh and tasty. A watermelon can stay refrigerated for about 5 to seven days.

Once you have picked the perfect melon, enjoy a watermelon drink on a hot day!

Watermelon Drink

Cut watermelon into chunks and remove the seeds.

Place it in a blender.

Add a splash of fresh lime juice.

Variation: Add some sparkling water and a spring of mint for a fresh cocktail taste.

Watermelon Kabobs

Ingredients:

Kabob sticks

Watermelon

Fruit – a variety of colorful fruit like pineapple, apple, peach, mango, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, banana, etc.

Directions:

Cut the fruit into thick chucks.

Slide the fruits on the kabob stick.

Serve cold as a snack, desert or appetizer.

This is a fun food preparation activity that the children can help make.

By Nancy Addison CHC, AADP and for further information go to: http://www.organichealthylifestyle.com

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